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biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.12.472269


The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant harbors 37 amino acid substitutions in the spike (S) protein, 15 of which are in the receptor-binding domain (RBD), thereby raising concerns about the effectiveness of available vaccines and antibody therapeutics. Here, we show that the Omicron RBD binds to human ACE2 with enhanced affinity relative to the Wuhan-Hu-1 RBD and acquires binding to mouse ACE2. Severe reductions of plasma neutralizing activity were observed against Omicron compared to the ancestral pseudovirus for vaccinated and convalescent individuals. Most (26 out of 29) receptor-binding motif (RBM)-directed monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) lost in vitro neutralizing activity against Omicron, with only three mAbs, including the ACE2-mimicking S2K146 mAb, retaining unaltered potency. Furthermore, a fraction of broadly neutralizing sarbecovirus mAbs recognizing antigenic sites outside the RBM, including sotrovimab, S2X259 and S2H97, neutralized Omicron. The magnitude of Omicron-mediated immune evasion and the acquisition of binding to mouse ACE2 mark a major SARS-CoV-2 mutational shift. Broadly neutralizing sarbecovirus mAbs recognizing epitopes conserved among SARS-CoV-2 variants and other sarbecoviruses may prove key to controlling the ongoing pandemic and future zoonotic spillovers.

biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.08.471707


The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant is currently responsible for most infections worldwide, including among vaccinated individuals. Although these latter infections lead to milder COVID-19 disease relative to unvaccinated subjects, the specificity and durability of antibody responses elicited by Delta breakthrough cases remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that breakthrough infections induce serum binding and neutralizing antibody responses that are markedly more potent, durable and resilient to spike mutations observed in variants than those observed in subjects who were infected only or received only two doses of vaccine. We show that Delta breakthrough cases, subjects who were vaccinated after infection and individuals vaccinated three times (without infection) have serum neutralizing activity of comparable magnitude and breadth, indicating that multiple types of exposure or increased number of exposures to SARS-CoV-2 antigen(s) enhance antibody responses. Neutralization of SARS-CoV, however, was moderate, underscoring the importance of developing vaccines eliciting broad sarbecovirus immunity for pandemic preparedness.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , COVID-19 , Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome